Today marks 100 years since Sir Edmund Hillary was born. Sir Edmund has inspired many people to follow in his and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay's footsteps to the top of the world's highest mountain but being an icefall doctor on Mt Everest is a perilous occupation. So why do Sherpas risk their lives each season to get foreign climbers to the top of the world? Northland reporter Jenny Ling talked to her brother-in-law Mingma Temba Sherpa to find out what it's like.
Mingma Temba Sherpa didn't see the fall, but he soon heard about it.
He was with his fellow icefall doctors working on Mount Everest securing ropes and ladders to make the route safe for climbers when his workmate Ngima Dorjee slipped and fell into a crevasse on the treacherous Khumbu icefall.
Ngima Dorjee, who had been walking a fair distance behind Mingma, was shortly in a rescue helicopter on his way to Kathmandu hospital with a broken back and ribs.
It was Mingma Temba's first season as an icefall doctor on Everest, where, as well as deep crevasses, dangers include frequent avalanches and slippery, glacial blue ice.
It's freezing, they sometimes have to work in darkness, and they're also dealing with the altitude, due to being well above base camp's 5380m.
"There are lots of crevasses, and when you're setting the ladder between them and taking it out again sometimes there will be an avalanche," Mingma said.
"After the avalanche you can't see the crevasses, so that's the danger.
"In the mountain everything is risky; if you walk on blue ice and you slip or if the weather gets bad. There are so many things. But even though it's risky, as a good team you can overcome these difficulties."
Mingma Temba is part of a team of eight icefall doctors who work under the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), an organisation contracted by Nepal's Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to set the climbing route through the Khumbu icefall each year.
The group are all highly-skilled, courageous and experienced Sherpas, an ethnic group in Nepal, who incorrectly have become solely associated with high altitude workers due to their aptness at the job.
Ngima Dorjee has now recovered and is back at work, and Mingma Temba has also just returned from the mighty mountain having completed his third season.
Speaking from Lukla, where he runs the Everest Summit Lodge with his wife Tashi, Mingma Temba describes the role.
In March he leaves his family and treks to Everest Base Camp where he'll spend the next 90 days.
First he'll help set up tents, then begin carving a new path up to Camp 2 by stringing and anchoring thousands of feet of rope and installing aluminium ladders in readiness for the onslaught of eager mountaineers.
Once the ladders and ropes are fixed the group makes repeated daily trips from base camp to Camp 2 - about 6800m - to keep the path clear of snow and ice caused by avalanches.
Well before sunrise they step out of their small tents and make their way across some of the most perilous terrain on earth - the Khumbu icefall.
They frequently cross the 4km stretch of glacier which is constantly shifting downwards under the pressure of its own weight and where huge chunks of ice can splinter off and collapse without warning.
This is where the majority of deaths on Everest occur.
Not surprisingly, a disproportionate number of those deaths are Nepali mountain workers, because, while most foreign climbers pass through the icefall just a few times, Sherpas might make 15 to 20 trips through setting equipment and carrying gear.
Mingma Temba admits he was "not that comfortable" during his first season on the Khumbu icefall.
"But after I'd done it several times, I got used to it, and so it was easier."
The 25-year-old takes his job very seriously.
He began working as an icefall doctor in 2017 after completing an initial 15-day training session at the Khumbu Climbing Centre in Porste, involving ice and rock climbing, rescue techniques, knot tying and safety.
Mingma Temba and his team also have further training sessions at Everest Base Camp at the start of every season.
They are guided by senior instructors like Ang Kami Sherpa, a 66-year-old who retired this year after 21 years working as an icefall doctor.
Though he never stood on the infamous peak, Ang Kami helped hundreds of mountaineers reach Everest's summit.
Mingma Temba too sees it as his duty to carve out a safe route for climbers, so they can follow the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay and fulfil their dreams.
The work is not only dangerous, the hours are long; the day starts at 5am for the Sherpas and they're not sitting down for dinner until 7pm.
They stop for a break at around 10am for a meal back at base camp, but most of the time they're outside, exposed to the elements.
Despite the risks, Mingma Temba takes pride in his work, and insists he enjoys it.
"Being an icefall doctor is a big responsibility and I have to fulfil that," he said.
"And make sure people on the mountain are safe."
Though he misses his family and wife, he likes the responsibility of having a good job and providing for them.
Mingma's wife and parents don't want him to go; they believe the risks are too great.
His mum's brother was 28 years old when he was killed in an avalanche while climbing Annapurna I, the world's tenth highest mountain, many years ago.
The young expedition guide had previously summited Everest before attempting Annapurna I, which is 8091m and considered one of the world's deadliest mountains because of the technical difficulties of the terrain and large number of avalanche-prone areas.
Many Sherpas work on the mountains as guides and icefall doctors because there's a lack of choice for those without an education.
Mingma Temba had two options.
One was to continue his journey as a monk, which he had done for seven years from the age of 10 to 17 at Tengboche monastery in Nepal and in Darjeeling, India.
The other was to become a subsistence farmer like his parents, who have a farm in the Khumbu region and make a living selling vegetables to local markets.
He didn't want to do either.
And being an icefall doctor is paid way better than what he made during a short stint as a trekking guide assistant taking foreigners to Everest Base Camp.
He is paid US$4500 per season as an icefall doctor and food is provided.
However, as the climbing season is only three months, he must make that money last until the following year.
Mingma Temba is also covered for life insurance; US$15,000, a sum the Government increased from $10,000 after 16 Sherpas died in an avalanche in the Khumbu icefall in 2014. That year expeditions were cancelled as frustrated Sherpas with legitimate safety concerns demanded more rights from the Government.
The role of an icefall doctor is a well-respected profession among both Nepalese and foreigners which also involves looking after the environment.
During each climbing season Mingma Temba and his team spend 10 to 15 days manning a station at Camp 2 in a bid to reduce the amount of rubbish on the mountain.
Through the SPCC, a non-profit organisation established by Khumbu residents in 1991, they ensure climbers bring back 8kg of rubbish each, in order to retrieve the US$400 they stumped up as a deposit.
The amount of rubbish on Everest has made headlines many times over the years; this season a Government expedition removed 11 tonnes of garbage and four dead bodies.
The photograph that went viral of dozens of climbers queuing near the summit also sparked outrage and astonishment with calls to cap the number of people on the world's highest peak.
Mingma Temba believes from an economic point of view the increased number of visitors are good for Nepal.
But religiously he doesn't like people climbing Everest, a sacred mountain known as Chomolungma - which means goddess mother of the world - by the Sherpa.
He would rather the mountain be left alone but recognises it's too late for that.
It has become a circus, with many people trying to secure world records, like the first people to get married, the first to descend on skis and the first to be naked on the summit.
"Some people use Everest as a platform and climb it just to be famous," he said.
"What I dislike is lots of people leaving rubbish on the mountain and disrespecting it. Everyone needs to do their part to keep the mountain healthy."
Even though the work is dangerous and the conditions challenging beyond what most of us will ever experience, when Mingma Temba returns safely to base camp and is relaxing with his workmates having dinner and the occasional beer, he's happy.
He said he will continue his job "until he can" and he one day hopes to reach the summit.
"I'm happy being on the mountain," he said.
"I can make other people's mission a success and I feel proud of what I'm doing. When I find the way successfully, that moment is my best moment."